Living in New England, you’ve probably had the experience of taking a long drive on a beautiful autumn day. Maybe you stopped and took in a picturesque scene: the sun shining, the trees along a river’s edge brilliant with spectacular reds and yellows, their colors reflecting on the water. It’s a spiritual moment, to say the least.
Life is so rich when our hearts are fully aware of the Lord’s presence and the daily gifts that he gives us. But how can we live each day with an awakened heart? How can we see not only the beauty of creation each day, but also the beauty of our lives?
Just three weeks after Saint John Paul II died, Pope Benedict, in his inaugural homily spoke these words: “If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation…Open wide the doors to Christ and you will find true life.”
So many people are searching to find true life. So many people are striving to realize their great potential. Browse any bookstore and you will find an entire section dedicated to Self Help. Some of these books can be helpful, but there is almost always one thing missing from them: Jesus. Self-development is a good thing; however, we only fully realize the true beauty and potential of our lives in a personal friendship with Jesus.
In friendship with Jesus, we realize the great potential of our existence much more profoundly than any self-help book can teach us because we come to understand that it is God’s grace that transforms our lives more effectively than any human striving can achieve. In friendship with Jesus, we are truly liberated from all that keeps us from being fully alive.
In this Sunday’s Gospel we contemplate Jesus healing the blind man, Bartimaeus. However, Bartimaeus was not only healed of his blindness; his heart was awakened to the reality that Jesus was his Savior and friend. He was liberated through his encounter with Jesus; and after his encounter with the Lord he saw true beauty for the first time. Bartimaeus did not lose anything when he responded to Christ calling him; rather, he gained everything.
Do you want to live each day with a fully awakened heart? Do you want to be deeply aware of the beauty that surrounds you everyday? Do you want to know and experience the great potential of your life? Open wide the doors of your heart to Christ. Live in friendship with Him and you will find true life.
Father Michael Najim is Spiritual Director of Our Lady of Providence Seminary, Providence, as well as Catholic Chaplain at LaSalle Academy, Providence.